GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauded the guidance issued by the federal government today, directing public schools nationwide to ensure full inclusion of transgender students in schools including removing any barriers keeping transgender students from being able to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.

“The guidance is an amazing step forward,” said Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project. “It is comprehensive, and addresses specifically the fact that the discomfort of others in the community cannot be a justification for preventing transgender students from using any school facilities or being part of any school programs.”

The guidance closely tracks the approach of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which GLAD worked to develop in partnership with DESE, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning Youth and others, and which is cited by the guidance.

GLAD also recognized the pioneering role of its former client, Nicole Maines, who won a 2014 victory at Maine’s highest court in her fight to use the girls’ bathroom at her middle school. “Courageous young transgender people like Nicole have paved the way for today’s announcement,” said Levi. “The lives of transgender students will be better and happier thanks to the determination of her and others like her.”